Skip to content


Lately Mazda has been killing it with their lineup in styling and performance with the addition of their not-so-new anymore turbocharged engine. Coming in as a whole new crossover model, the Mazda CX-50 is a bit like Mazda trying to kill two birds with one stone – a sporty crossover with off-road readiness.  

The CX-50’s main objective is to cover the shortcomings of their other compact crossover, the CX-5. With the CX-5 no longer being as competitive as it should be the CX-50 is picking up the slack sitting about 6-inches longer and 3-inches wider offering larger cargo capacity and passenger comfort. As it stands, the CX-50 comes standard with all-wheel drive in two engine variants, a 2.5-liter non-turbo four-cylinder delivering 187-horsepower and 186lbs-ft of torque, or a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder capable of achieving 256-horsepower and 320 lbs-ft of torque depending on the type of fuel that’s put into the gas tank.  

Mazda has always been known for a well-tuned chassis with impeccable handling capabilities, and the CX-50 is no different. It handles curves with grace and prosperity with exceptional responsiveness. With the 2.5-turbocharged engine fitted under the hood of my example, it is decently quick. Not sports car quick, but in terms of compact crossover, it out accelerates most of its competitors.  

Like most, I can appreciate the power of a good, turbocharged engine and the 2.5T paired with its standard 6-speed automatic transmission is just dandy and can provided an uplifting experience when using the steering wheel paddle shifters. However, with new technology out there, I can’t help but think an 8 or 10-speed would do this engine better justice with improve fuel economy and driver entertainment.  

Where the CX-50 starts to shine is in its off-road performance. Now, obviously we’re not talking Jeep territory, but in terms of your generic trail hopping and weekend adventuring, the CX-50 is quite good with its torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. The only downside is its incredibly hard suspension and massive 20-inch wheels on our top tiered Premium Plus model. Luckily for those that prefer to get down and dirty on a routine basis, there is a Meridian Edition that offers 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain rubber, much like the Toyota RAV4 TRD Off Road model.  

Styling wise, Mazda is on point – it is such a good-looking crossover with bolstering shoulder pads over the wheel archers. Its design is simple, yet elegant with streamline LED lighting and styling black design cues. Because the CX-50 is slightly larger than the CX-5, it carries a comfortable interior, a size worthy that feels on par to something like a Honda Passport or Kia Sorento with room to move about. The interior on this example Turbo Premium Plus was a well-executed superior space with leather on the dash, contrast stitching and a laundry list of comfort creature features like ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel.  

There is a lot more to like about the CX-50 with its impressive list of available technology and equipment like the heads-up display with incorporated blind-spot monitoring indicators, the crystal clear 360-degree camera and front parking sensors. And of course, the available safety equipment featuring adaptive cruise control with traffic jam stop and go assist functionality that works decently well.  

The problem is, I am struggling to see where the CX-50 really fits in. Despite being slightly larger than the CX-5, it has a shorter roof line, which becomes prevalent with the Panoramic Sunroof option as it encroaches in on passenger headroom comfort. The CX-50 does seem to carry more of an off-road presence with a 1-inch-high ground clearance than the CX-5 and lower body cladding that can take on a terrain beating. Ultimately, I can the CX-50 fitting in more if it is after all the replacement to the CX-5, much like they did with the CX-30 replacing the CX-3. Then there is the price, the CX-50 is about $1000 more than the CX-5 starting at $27,550. And if you sort through the 10-available trim options, the most expensive version, Turbo Premium Plus costs $43,970.  

Mazda has admitted in their own ways that they are starting to target premium consumers looking into Acura and Infiniti like crossovers with their superior handling and chassis dynamics – which is great. However, adopting the premium brand mindset is more than just about handling and performance but a lifestyle and consumer care. One I hope Mazda will start integrating into their brand if they truly want to target those deeper pocketed consumers.  


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: